Paula Deen Says She Only Used The N-Word Once During ‘Today’ Show Appearance

June 26, 2013  |  

Paula Deen made a tearful appearance on the Today show this morning, telling Matt Lauer repeatedly that she’s not a racist and had only used the N-word once after she’d been held up at gunpoint.

Lauer began the interview with business questions, asking whether, if she were the Food Network, she would’ve made the same move.

“Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No,” she said. “I am so very thankful for the partners I have who believe in me.”

When asked if she was a racist, she answered simply, “No.” But then she went on to say, “I believe that every one of God’s creatures was created equal, no matter what church you go to pray. I believe that everyone should be treated equal, and that’s the way I was raised.”

After reiterating what she said in her deposition about not knowing what offends people, she pointed to the language that’s used by young people in her kitchens. “I go into my kitchens and hear what these young people are calling each other … it’s very distressing for me. I think for this problem to be worked on, these young people are gonna have to take control and start showing respect for each other.”

As for herself, she focused on her use of the N-word once when she had been held up at gunpoint. During her deposition, she admitted to using the word. In the interview, she insisted that the incident 30 years ago was the only time “in my 66 years on Earth that I have used it.” Rather, she focused on her family, emphasizing that “it’s just not part of who we are.” She even lashed out a bit at the top of the interview, saying that people who don’t know her are suddenly “experts” about her. Later she said that a lot of what’s being said about her are “lies.”

Finally, Deen addressed the audience, asking that if they’ve never said something they regretted then they should be the ones to throw stones.

“If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, then please pick up that stone and throw it at my head,” she said.

Online reaction read aloud after the interview showed there’s a split between those who support Deen and those who still think she should still be held accountable. She has been dropped by Smithfield Foods in addition to the Food Network. According to Lauer (who is being praised online for how he handled the interview), Deen continued to be “very emotional” after the interview was over.

Do you think Deen’s apology is enough? We’ve got the video after the jump.

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